In J&K, enrollment in govt schools falls by 1.75 lakh

In a major concern, the enrollment at elementary level in government schools has decreased by 1.75 lakh in a year.

This comes at a time when the school education department claims of organizing drives in villages and towns to increase student enrollment in schools.

The department has also fared poorly on retention rate at primary, upper primary and secondary level classes in government schools.

This was revealed at a Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting chaired by secretary education and literacy in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in June.

The PAB meeting “Samagra Shiksha” was convened to consider the annual work plan and budget (AWP&B) 202O-21 for J&K.

As per the minutes of the meeting, the total enrollment decline between the grades is nearly 1.75 lakh in 2019-20. “The number of out of school children was only 19000 in 2017-18 academic year.”

Besides the decline in enrollment, the department has also failed to provide subject-specific teachers in 70 percent of the upper primary schools. The dearth of subject-specific teachers is mostly witnessed in remote areas.

The government schools are also witnessing decline in the retention rate. The retention rate is only 60 percent at elementary level and only 50 percent at secondary level.

“The retention rate is very low in Baramulla district which is 41.52 percent at primary level and 46.68 percent at elementary level. In Ganderbal and Kishtwar district, the retention rate is less than 50 percent at elementary level as well,” read the minutes of the meeting.

The MHRD has stated that the annual average dropout rate of Muslim students in J&K is high at all level (elementary and secondary).

“Annual average dropout rate of Muslim students is 14.30 percent at primary level, 13.10 percent at upper primary, 23.70 percent at secondary level and 26 percent at higher secondary level,” the official document reads.

As per the official document, the annual average dropout rate of students is more than 20 percent in eight districts of J&K UT which include Budgam, Bandipora, Baramulla, Kulgam, Kupwara, Rajouri,Ramban and Reasi.